'Soorma', a biographical film based on the prestigious 2010 Arjuna Award winner Sandeep Singh, the ex-captain of the International Indian Hockey team. A full-back defender with the world record of the fastest drag flick till date. A biopic on the man who redefined Indian Hockey with his heroics and a tragedy that held him half paralyzed for more than a year. This Shaad Ali directorial displays the greatest journey of a champion in the simplest of way minimizing the drama and focusing more on realism to sum it up all.
Diljit Dosanjh has outplayed this larger than life role with a lot of passion that was clearly seen on screen and the man literally scored a drag flick goal through his intense performance and soft-hearted sardaarji character. Starting to play hockey for his love interest Harpreet Kaur aka Taapsee Pannu who is a centre-forward of women's International Hockey team. The chemistry is laid with a lot of grace and some simple stares which Taapsee and Diljit flawlessly communicate with. An eight years old ordinary boy who masters the art by drag flicking stones over the farming field protecting it from grazing of birds. Sandeep takes the hockey stick in his hands for the love of his life, to take beatings from his ruthless coach Kartaar Singh played by Danish Hussain who is not less than a Punjabi Hitler to train his troops. With a super quick proposal, Harpreet wastes no time and keeps a straightforward condition which makes Sandeep enter in the Indian Hockey Team and from here is all the dedication, hard work and resilience begins.
The film shines because of its stellar supporting cast with Satish Kaushik as Sandeep's father, an ordinary man working as a labourer in the printing company and has dreams of having a bigger home for his family. Angad Bedi as Sandeep's brother Bikramjeet Singh is the spine of the film and outshines this role by being a pillar in Sandeep's life. This brotherly chemistry is portrayed magnificently. Angad Bedi gets a stage and proves his acting prowess with quite convincing emotional scenes and one monologue which looked so natural and authentic.
Vijay Raaz as the Indian Hockey team coach is spot on and plays a bit serious this time. He gets in the shoes of a responsible role and essays this larger than life character with the strongest of gestures and flawlessly matched the body language of an international head coach. Kulbhushan Kharbanda as Indian Hockey Federation Head plays his part magnificently. His role is to reflect light in the dark dipping life of Sandeep during his paralyzed days. Some great insights about the National sports of India are presented fearlessly when the management is discussing about funding Sandeep's medical treatment. Financial backing is compared with cricket and some serious dialogues like "Player toh player hota hai, cricket ka ho ya Hockey ka, player toh desh ka hee hai na." Overall every single performance of its cast clearly nurtured the film and it turned out a not to be missed journey. The intriguing first half that had ample of romantic moments shifts to serious second half that had Sandeep shot down accidentally, suffers coma for a couple of weeks, wakes up with his paralyzed lower body and silents the whole world with his heroic comeback.
The songs are an engaging factor in the film and just involves you a bit more. When you have the multi-talented Diljit in the team who can act and sing simultaneously, why not use the talent? 'Ishq Di Baajiyaan' a soft romantic number is performed by Diljit himself and its tenderly narrative is quite pleasant to watch. The 'Soorma Anthem' sung by Shankar Mahadevan is motivating and gives you all kind of gymming and training goals. The narrative includes Sandeep Singh returning from fitness rehab and his brother Bikramjeet aka Angad Bedi taking the charge of rigorous physical training from here on.
The film has quite a many picturesque locations of Patiala, Punjab and a bit of Netherlands as well. The essence of Punjab reflected beautifully in this Sandeep Singh biopic. I still found Cinematography by Chirantan Das was quite mediocre and some edgy slow-mo sports videography with long professional sports lenses were missing. This could have added sharpness and a lot and lot of intensity with the on-field visuals.
Shaad Ali's gripping screenplay and direction is laudable. Editing by Farooq Hundekar is spot on.
Overall, Soorma is an un-sung journey of world-class Indian athlete surely not to be missed.